We’ve all heard it, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. As familiar as this is, surprisingly, it isn’t actually the official motto of the US Postal Service.
A bit of personal history – both of my grandfathers were postal carriers. My father’s father walked a city route on Long Island and my mother’s father drove a rural route in the same small town in Upstate New York where I grew up. Even though the motto wasn’t official, I know they took it to heart. On snow days, I would tag along with my grandfather to help shovel out mailboxes so he could complete his appointed rounds.
Reducing Days of Exposure
I recently completed a business review and one of my recommendations was for the utility to consider reducing their Days of Exposure. We discussed how they might decrease the 25 days between billing and due dates. One of their concerns, however, was how long the mail is taking.
Snail mail just got slower
If it seems like you have more customers complaining about how long it takes to receive their bill or being charged a late fee when they think they mailed their check in plenty of time, they may have a point.
So, while neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will slow the mail, it seems bureaucracy will. This increase in delivery time for first class mail is intended to reduce costs for the USPS. If you have customers who live several states away (think vacation areas and snowbirds) they will likely experience longer delivery times.
What’s the solution?
In the vein of turning lemons into lemonade, use this as an opportunity to promote ebilling and electronic payments. If customers call and complain about how long it took to receive their bill, use that as an opening to encourage them to sign up for ebilling. Likewise, if they complain about being charged a late fee, offer them the opportunity to sign up for bank drafts or pay online.
Are you relying too heavily on mail service?
2022 Utility Staffing Survey
There’s still time to complete the 2020 Utility Staffing Survey, if you haven’t already participated.
If you’d like to complete the 2022 Utility Staffing Survey, please click here. This should only take a few minutes to complete and I will publish the results in future newsletters.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey and please feel free to share it with your peers at other utilities.